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What is Peritoneal Dialysis (PD)?

Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a kidney replacement therapy option for patients with kidney failure that uses blood vessels in the lining of your abdomen – the peritoneum – to naturally filter waste from your blood. 

During PD, a cleansing solution called dialysate is infused to your peritoneal (abdominal) cavity through a PD catheter. This dialysate attracts wastes and toxins from blood vessels in the peritoneum, and is then drained back out and discarded.

What are typical treatment schedules?

There are 2 types of peritoneal dialysis: continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) and automated peritoneal dialysis (APD). Both types of peritoneal dialysis have the same basic function, but each have their own methods and advantages to consider. Session times vary based on the option you choose.

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Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD)

CAPD is done 3-5 times each day, manually.
CAPD can be done in almost any clean environment – at home, at work or while travelling.
You’re not attached to a machine of any kind, so you’re able to be on the move – which is why it’s called “ambulatory”.

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Automated peritoneal dialysis (APD)

APD is an automated process that uses a machine called a “cycler” to perform your exchanges.

With APD, you can choose between a variety of times for dialysis sessions.

APD can be done as a longer single session while you sleep, as multiple shorter sessions during the day or night, or as a combination of these options. Everyone’s treatment is different, so talk to your nephrologist about what works best for you.

These two options, CAPD and APD, can be done separately or in combination with one another.

Where does the treatment happen?

In the comfort of your home.

What is the treatment like?

A peritoneal catheter is placed into the abdomen to deliver the dialysis solution that attracts wastes, toxins, and excess water using blood vessels in the lining of the abdomen – also called the peritoneum – as a natural filter.

What is the access type for this treatment?

Peritoneal catheter – a flexible hollow tube about the size of a drinking straw that’s surgically placed in the lower abdomen to allow fluid to enter and exit the access site permanently. A small piece of the tubing remains outside the body and can be covered with a dressing when not in use.

Who performs this treatment?

You – or with a care partner’s help if your current health condition limits your ability to perform PD by yourself.

What is the access type for this treatment?

Peritoneal catheter – a flexible hollow tube about the size of a drinking straw that’s surgically placed in the lower abdomen to allow fluid to enter and exit the access site permanently. A small piece of the tubing remains outside the body and can be covered with a dressing when not in use.

Who performs this treatment?

You – or with a care partner’s help if your current health condition limits your ability to perform PD by yourself.

What are some of the key considerations?

There are no needles.

You can do PD on your own without assistance.

PD can be done almost anywhere – at work, at home and while travelling

PD may help preserve residual kidney function.

PD also offers benefits listed for home hemodialysis (HD).

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